Tuesday, September 30, 2008

La Carne Fria de Nora (Cold Meat Roll)

Last Sunday Nora and her husband J.C. welcomed us into their beautiful home so that we could learn how to make the traditional party food Carne Fria, served sliced with crackers. It also makes a delicious snack or light meal.

There was wine, and all kinds of yummies to munch on while we worked and home-made arroz con leche (rice pudding) for dessert. As a bonus, Nora showed us a culinary treasure – she had bound two composition notebooks full of her mother’s handwritten recipes! They were wonderful, and may be the source of future cooking lessons from Nora.


For Meat Rolls
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
½ lb. ground ham
1 onion – minced
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup garlic cloves
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp oregano
4 eggs
1 cup cracker meal

For Coating
6 eggs scrambled
1 cup cracker meal
Pinch of salt
Cheese Cloth
Cooking Twine

For Cooking
1 onion – halved
1 tbsp salt
12 garlic cloves
4 bay leaves
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
Water to cover meat at all times
Aluminum foil

The Process

This recipe makes enough party snacks for 40-50 people.

Meat Rolls
  1. Puree onion and garlic in a blender or food processor.

  1. Combine the ground meats, salt, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, egg, cracker meal and spices with the onion and garlic.

  2. Knead the mixture into the consistency of a thick paste.

  1. Make three or four cylindrical rolls, approximately 8 – 10 inches long.


  1. Scramble and salt the eggs.

  2. Dredge each meat roll in the cracker meal, brush off any excess cracker meal.

  1. Dredge in the egg mixture.

  1. Dredge in the cracker meal again brushing off any excess cracker meal.

  • TIP: The carne fria can be prepared ahead of time and frozen in aluminum foil after breading.
  1. Double wrap each meat roll in a piece of cheese cloth.

  1. Tie the ends securely with twine.


  1. Add halved onion, salt, garlic cloves, bay leaves, and spices to the water and bring to a boil.

  1. Place the meat rolls in a single layer into the boiling water for two hours.
  • NOTE: As the water evaporates add more as needed so that the meat rolls are always covered. Add a pinch of salt to the water each time.
  1. Take the meat rolls out of the water.

  1. Remove the cloth from the meat rolls while still hot.

  1. Wrap the meat rolls in aluminum foil and allow them to cool.

  • NOTE: The carne fria should be prepared at least 24 hours prior to serving having been placed in the refrigerator over night.
  1. To serve slice into thin rounds – preferably with an electric knife.

  • TIP: To make the carne fria in a pressure cooker, use one cup of water and cook it for 25 minutes.

We each got to take some carne fria home - talk about a great party favor!

Make this for your next party and you'll have a taste of a traditional Cuban "saladito".

Until next time...¡Buen provecho!